The No Fuss Guide to Starting a Business

Establishing a business is a specialist skill that most people aren’t trained in. So, for those getting started, here’s everything you need to know.

The No-fuss Guide to Starting a Business

Getting Started

The very first question to ask is, what’s your business? You could be a highly skilled tradie. Maybe you’re a creative landscape gardener. Perhaps you have an idea for a new product. Or is there an existing business that you’re looking to buy?

Well, whatever your situation might be, this guide was crafted to help you on your way to starting a business. You will encounter our nine essentials for business development which will be explored along the way. Now, let’s get started!

The Nine Essentials


  1. Have a Business Plan
  2. Build Your Business Budget
  3. Understand Cash Flow Forecasting
  4. Set Up Business Compliance
  5. Company Culture & Values
  6. Management Routines
  7. Business Systems and Processes
  8. Develop a Marketing Plan
  9. Checklist for Buying an Existing Business

Have a Business Plan

When creating your plan, you need to ask yourself how it will be used day to day. A business plan is not about developing  long-term goals that are soon forgotten. You need something in place that is usable and effective.

But that’s not all that should be considered before drafting your plan. It should also be kept in mind that your environment will change, your business will grow, and as this happens, your plan needs to be modified. 

Now considering all that, just get straight into it. And forget about writing up a 10-20 page document that details everything about your business. It will look great, but will you read it again?


One page is all you need and here’s what you’ll need on it:

  • Vision and Goals.
  • SWOT Analysis.
  • Unique Selling Proposition.
  • Core Values.
  • KPIs.
  • Financial Targets.
  • Action Plan.
  • Collecting Data: Business Systems and Processes.

Read more on Creating Your Business Plan.

Build Your Business Budget

Measuring performance is critical for making good business decisions. Will you be able to meet your sales/revenue targets? Can you afford to invest in your next big idea? If you’re wondering, it’s your budget that will tell you.

With a solid budget in place you’ll be better able to answer the hard questions and while efficiently managing the financials of your business.

This business budget will also become the precursor for establishing a cash flow forecast. Which is yet another of our nine essentials that every business needs to understand and utilise.

Learn how to build your business budget.

Understand Cash Flow Forecasting

The latest stats from Xero state that 49% of small businesses in NZ are cash flow negative. This means that more cash is going out than coming in. Yes, that 49% is a large and tough stat to escape. But with a cash flow forecast that gives you foresight of financials, you have a much better chance.

Additionally, because funders want to see that you understand cash flow, having a cash flow forecast is essential when applying for funding to get your business off the ground. So, what is there to learn?

The basics of cash flow to focus on:

  • The difference between profit & loss (P&L) and cash flow.
  • Your cash conversion cycle.
  • Working capital.
  • Staff entitlements.
  • Scenario planning.

Learn all you need to know, right here, in our beginner’s guide to cash flow.

Set up Business Compliance

It’s the less creative aspect of starting a business but a rather vital part of establishing one that succeeds. But what exactly is it?

Every business will have its own rules and regulations to follow according to its structure and associated industry. What it must do to comply with these requirements is all wrapped up under the term ‘business compliance’.

Now because requirements differ between businesses and industries, it can seem daunting to figure out what you need to focus on. Which is why we’ve rounded up the key points for you. These include registration details, health & safety measures, human resources support, and insurance coverage.

For the full list of fundamentals, read our guide for setting up your business compliance.

Company Culture & Values

Everyone talks about business culture and core values, but why are they important? How do they help? Why should you bother?

Company culture and core values are essential for managing staff performance, driving business decisions, and strengthening your brand identity. Create them with care, implement with confidence, and you can bet that you’re on the track to something good.

What the creation process involves is selecting a handful of values that fit your business and then using them as the foundation of your company culture. In this exercise you get to be creative and have fun setting the tone of your business. But when you do, think big and focus on your ‘why’.

At the end of the day, your core values and company culture will be used throughout daily operations and to guide future business plans. It’s important that this step isn’t taken lightly.

For more details and help in creating your own, read here about the importance of company culture and core values.

Management Routines

As great as it is to imagine business management as a carefree task, it’s more a full-time job. But what exactly is required in managing a business? Well to start, it’s having management routines in place so that you can manage the show efficiently.

Because every business is different, there is no one-size-fits-all routine. Which means you’ll need to create routines that are best suited to your business and industry. To discover what’s best for you, it’s useful to chat with business owners in the same industry or business structure. 

Another smart option is to get in touch with a business development specialist who can provide expertise on your business requirements and best practices. 

But for the meantime, we’ve created a simple guide to help get you started building your business management routine.

Business Systems and Processes

In order to operate your business smoothly, save staff time, and grow as your business expands, you’ll need systems and processes in place to help you do so.

These systems and processes can be as simple as drawing up your end-of-day process into a word document. Or on a technological scale, it could be the integration of a cloud application like Slack which enables your team to organise and complete tasks more efficiently. 

At the rate that technology is developing today, you truly can’t count the options available for business systems and processes. This makes it quite difficult to know what’s right for you and your business. And on another note, what is the cloud? Does anyone actually know?

To answer these tough questions (including what the cloud is), we have all the information you need in our steps for choosing the best systems and processes

Develop a Marketing Plan

Ever heard of the marketing funnel? If not, it’s soon to become your best friend in marketing development. And for those already familiar, it’s with this model that we recommend you frame your future marketing plans. 

But first, let’s talk about why marketing plans matter. 

Sadly, marketing is not as simple as setting up a few digital adverts and an active Instagram account. The fact is, with the internet’s rapid development, business competition is only expanding and getting smarter too. This means that those who invest little into brand visibility will fail quickly next to businesses who invest in awareness and lead generation.

So marketing matters, it doubtlessly does. And to get you started, here’s how to develop a marketing and sales plan (featuring the so-praised marketing funnel, of course).

Checklist for Buying an Existing Business

There are quite a few differences between buying a business and starting your own from scratch. Which is why we’ve created this final piece of advice specifically for those wanting to buy an existing business.

There are many elements to consider when determining if you should buy a business. For one, where is the business sitting next to competition in its current marketplace? And how about stock/assets - what will you need to buy that might not have crossed your mind?

Before you make the big purchase and invest in a business, what you fundamentally need to do is ask a lot of questions. These range from the subject of staff to suppliers and current business contracts.

For the full list of Qs to answer, look no further than our checklist for buying and existing business.

That’s All. Now Make Your Business a Reality!

You have the essential steps and hopefully, at this point, a business idea in mind. Now all that remains to have your business become a walking and talking entity is simply to make it happen. 

If there are areas within our nine steps for starting a business where you would like further advice or assistance, don’t be shy to chat with us! We specialise in helping businesses grow and would love to hear about your business plans.

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